Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Musings: Quality Over Quantity

I spent some time in the woods this weekend really thinking about the direction I wanted to take Vanishing Veggie.  Blogging has been so positive for me.  It taught me how to look into what I was really thinking, and it has been a creative outlet for many years.

Lately, though, I have felt I'm not very good at it.  Where before, I would spend weekends carefully photo editing and creating recipes, or going out and writing about new and exciting vegan events in Little Rock, lately I have been trying to pull together posts quickly so I'll have something to go up.  I don't want it to be like that.  When you come here, I want you to know that I took care to create something worth viewing.

Some of my apathy has to do with the simplicity of my meals lately, and the feeling that they're not worth sharing.  While this has been great for my body, eating simple steamed veggies and beans, salads, quick and easy soups, it's not so hot for clicks and reposts.  I can't simply strive for popularity on the internet.  I just have to be me.  Veganism is a central part of my lifestyle and will continue to be so, because I truly believe it is the best decision for me.  After over 7 years of eating this way, I no longer feel the urgent need to promote vegan food.  There is a movement, and I'm starting to see a lot of good change.  There are so many incredible bloggers out there doing what I only wish I could, and they stand as a voice far louder than mine.  I need to figure out what I bring to the table, what stories I can share, and what little space I can create online for people to enjoy.

My life is really developing in other areas as well, and that has been pulling me away from cooking and writing about it.  My position at work has been taking off, and I find myself more immersed in architecture than I have been in years.  I realize that to be truly great at my chosen career, which I do love deeply, I need to devote some of my non-work hours to studying, researching, and furthering my craft.  I have been yearning to create more art pieces, be that painting, photography, or digital drawing.  So, I hope to carve out some time for those creative endeavors as well.  I've shared small glimpses of my art with you on this blog, and I'd like the chance to do more.

We are also very much looking forward to starting a family, something which I hope to write about and share here, although the level to which I am still struggling with.  I want to maintain a certain level of privacy for our children, and I haven't begun to formulate my full opinion on that matter.

I feel like I'm pulling back on the blog just when things in my life seem to be the best that they've been.  Sure, we just lost a pregnancy, but I am so deeply in love and happy with where things are in my life.  I started this blog when I was completely lost and struggling with what I wanted, who I wanted to be, and how to cope with the deep loathing I had for myself.  I feel like in a small way, writing here to you has brought me through that.  With sobriety and caring for myself, I seem to want to grow and focus on more areas of my life, not just this blog.

So, all of this is to say that you may not see me regularly, but I will still be here.  I want to use this as a platform for stories, struggles, and of course, food, but I want to choose quality of quantity.  I'm not really sure what that will look like moving forward, and I'm going to need some time to figure that out.  I plan on taking a small break, probably until the end of the year, to regroup and work on some content.  In the meantime, you can still find me active in other places:

For dining reviews, read my Eat Arkansas articles.

For weird and wacky doodles, see my blog Scribbly Brain.  I hope to re-launch this platform with a better format and new material at the beginning of the year as well.

For everyday eats and life pics, follow me on instagram.

I'll see you all in January, with new stories and pictures and musings on life.  I hope you'll still be here when I get back.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Five Favorite Vegan YouTube Channels

I love blogs, and I've been reading them for as long as I've been a vegan, and that's a long ass time.  Recently, though, I've noticed a lot of my favorite bloggers, and some new ones, making amazing content on YouTube.  All of these 5 I'm going to share with you today make high quality content that helps to spread the veggie word.  I'm really just getting into the whole watching vloggers on youtube thing, so if you have suggestions of channels I might dig, please let me a comment!

Jenny Mustard.

Jenny is a lovely, minimalist lifestyle and vegan food blogger from Sweden.  She makes amazingly beautiful videos with the help of her partner, David, about life and food.  The meals are simple yet not restrictive, and she's fun to watch.  I especially love her logs of what she eats in a day.

I have been reading JoJo's blog for a little bit now, but I really love her travel videos.  She's currently roaming the world and giving updates on how to pack and what to eat.  Check this one out if you have Wanderlust!

Hot for Food

This channel is actually what started my foray into vlogs in general.  This cute couple makes amazingly delicious vegan food and has fun doing it.  They often have cook-offs, and my favorite kind of video is where they figure out what to make from stuff in the fridge.  Their vegan food is very similar to what omni's can eat, so bust out their recipes when cooking for a mixed crowd.

The Vegan Roadie

If you love food shows on the Travel Channel, or things like that, you'll love The Vegan Roadie.  He picks different cities around the country and eats his way through amazing vegan food.  I think this is a go-to if you're planning a trip and plan on stuffing your face.  At the end of the videos, he always makes a recipe in his hotel room, which is great for people who travel often.

The Vegan Bros may insight controversy among vegans for their brash videos, but I included them on the list because they're funny and I like their point of view.  They definitely preach an easy going and approachable veganism, which is more likely to draw people into the lifestyle.  They also promote healthy living and smash the stereotypes of the skinny, non-manly vegan.

I hope you check out some of these channels and find something that you like.  If you have ones you're currently loving, let me know!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015

This year, Halloween was tons of fun!  We started off by going zombie hunting at a local paintball course, then my sister had a rockin' party Friday night, then Saturday we terrified the trick or treaters at Josh's mom's house.  This was the first time in our 10 years together that we did a couple's costume, and we did TWO.  First, we dressed up like Bob and Linda Belcher from Bob's Burgers.

Like my cranberry juice in a wine glass?  I thought it was a nice touch, since Linda drinks a lot in the cartoon.  Plus, no one asked me why I wasn't drinking.

I made quite a few snacks for my sister's party, including these tofu muffins.

I modified this recipe by doubling the tofu and nutritional yeast, only using sauteed spinach for veggies, and adding vegan cheese.  When you make these as muffins, they turn out really dense, so I cubed them and laid them out at the party.  People really liked them, and they were great for ones trying to soak up some booze in their tummies by the end of the night.

I also made brownie bites and cookies.  My sister, Casey, made a huge spread of food, including raw veggie, local Geek Eats hummus, chips, salsa, guac, and vegan southwest eggrolls.  She had lots of non-vegan stuff, too, but as she's mostly vegetarian and loves her sister, she had mostly vegan stuff to eat.


We hadn't been to a Halloween party in several years, so it was really fun.

Saturday, we headed to Fort Smith to scare the crap out of some trick or treaters.  Josh was a jaw-less zombie, Walking Dead style, and I wielded Michonne's sword to keep him at bay.  He spent most of the night on a chain, and people went crazy over it!  Kids were laughing and running and taking pictures of Josh.  It was awesome.

Josh's mom got in on the act, too.  The kids were pretty terrified to grab candy from her, especially with this zombie walking around..

It was a whole lot of fun.  Josh and I were exhausted by the time all the candy ran out at 8 pm.  His mom counted over 500 kids just in the 3 hours that we were outside.  My new goal:  move into a neighborhood with good trick or treating!

How was your Halloween?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Scary Movie List

Every Halloween, Josh and I sit down and have a scary movie marathon.  Sometimes we do themes, or watch a bunch of movies in a series.  Last year, we did a lot of 90's scary movies, like Scream.

This year, we've made a list of movies we've never seen, or ones that we haven't seen in a very long time.  I wanted to share with you all.

Do you like scary movies?  Have you ever seen any of these? (Bonus if you know where the first image in the post comes from)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bloody Heart Beet and Kidney Chili

This weekend, I finally got back into the kitchen.  We had friends in town, we went to an afternoon Halloween party, and we made chili and watched scary movies with more friends.  It was jam packed, and by Sunday I was pretty tired.

For the afternoon Halloween party, there would be a lot of our friends and their kids in attendance, so I thought I would make some fun treats.  I used this cupcake recipe, and instead of peanut butter in the frosting, I used pumpkin.  I didn't use any of the cookies in the recipe, but it turned out great.  I also made these peanut butter cookies, which everyone always loves.

When we got back to the house after the party, I whipped up this chili with mostly ingredients from our winter CSA basket.  It was spicy and tasty, and we had it with a habanero cashew cream sauce.  It was spicy and warming, and it went great with scary movies.

Bloody Heart Beet and Kidney Chili

  • 2 red onions, diced
  • 3 tbs EVOO
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
  • spice mix
    • 1 tbs ancho chili powder
    • 1 tbs chili powder
    • 1 tsp nutmeg
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tbs cumin seeds
  • 1 dark beer
  • 2 large beets, peeled and diced
  • 1 large head of kale, chopped fine
  • 32 oz vegetable stock
  • 3 Serrano peppers
  • 2 cans organic pinto beans
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups vegan ground meat crumbles
  • 2 yellow squash, shredded
  • 2 squares dark chocolate, grated
  1. Pre-dice all vegetables.
  2. In a large pot, heat 3 tbs olive oil on medium/high heat.
  3. Add onions and a pinch of salt.
  4. Saute for 15 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add garlic.
  6. Saute for 2 minutes, constantly stirring.
  7. Add spice mix and stir for 1 minute.
  8. Add dark beer.
  9. Add in beets and squash and bring to a boil.
  10. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. Add vegetable stock, kale, crumbles, and peppers.
  12. Bring to a boil.
  13. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  14. Add in beans with can water.
  15. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  16. Grate chocolate over the top.
  17. Serve with your favorite cornbead.  I always use the Veganomicon.

To make the cashew cream, I just added 1 habanero pepper without seeds to my typical cashew cream recipe.  It had a nice heat and added depth to the chili.

I'm sure we'll be making lots of chili this year, but this first one was a great start!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Paint Night Little Rock

Every now and then, my sister and I head over to Hibernia for Paint Night Little Rock.  I may or may not have made a bit of a reputation of painting penises in all the assigned pictures.  Who knows how that rumor got started.. hehe

Before I headed to meet my sister for painting, Josh and I met up at Two Rivers Park for a walk.  We've been really enjoying the lower temperatures lately, and it was a nice after work date.

Instead of canvases, we painted on Styrofoam pumpkins.  There weren't many people, so we each got to do two.  I knew I wanted to do a meeseeks pumpkin, from Rick and Morty.  Josh and I love the show, and I wanted him to have one for his desk at work.

By popular demand, I may or may not have painted another pumpkin with dicks all over it.  There's no solid evidence on this matter.

The meeseeks one turned out great.  Another girl in front of me wanted one, too, so I painted two.

Casey and I had fun, and I now want to make tons of pumpkins for our house.  They're really easy to paint on.  We probably won't carve pumpkins this year, so these were great.  I loved all the Nightmare before Christmas skulls.